Defending DWI Chemical Test Refusal Charges in New York State: Strategies and Considerations
In New York State, drivers are considered to have given their consent to take a chemical test (breathalyzer, blood, or urine) when they operate a motor vehicle on public roads. This is known as the “Implied Consent” law. If you are arrested for a DWI, the police officer will ask you to take a chemical test. You have the right to refuse the test, but there are serious consequences for doing so.
If you refuse a chemical test, your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. This suspension is automatic and cannot be appealed. You will also be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 and up to 15 days in jail.
If you have a prior DWI conviction or refusal within the past 5 years, the penalties for refusing a chemical test are more severe. Your driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months, and you could face up to 1 year in jail.
There are a few exceptions to the Implied Consent law. For example, you do not have to take a chemical test if you are:
- Under the age of 21
- A commercial driver
- Injured in an accident
- In a medical emergency
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about DWI chemical test refusal in New York State:
- The refusal of a chemical test can be used against you in a criminal trial. The prosecutor can argue that your refusal is evidence of guilt.
- You can still be convicted of a DWI even if you refuse a chemical test. The prosecutor can use other evidence, such as your driving behavior, your appearance, and the results of field sobriety tests, to prove that you were intoxicated.
- If you are convicted of a DWI, you may be eligible for a hardship license after your suspension period ends. However, you will not be eligible for a hardship license if you refuse a chemical test.
Penalties for a DWI Chemical Test Refusal Charge in New York State
The penalties for a DWI chemical test refusal charge in New York State are:
- Driver’s license suspension: Your driver’s license will be suspended for one year. This suspension is automatic and cannot be appealed.
- Misdemeanor charge: You will be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 and up to 15 days in jail.
- Civil penalty: You will be assessed a civil penalty of $500.
If you have a prior DWI conviction or refusal within the past 5 years, the penalties are more severe:
- Driver’s license suspension: Your driver’s license will be suspended for 18 months.
- Misdemeanor charge: You could face up to 1 year in jail.
- Civil penalty: You will be assessed a civil penalty of $750.
There are a few exceptions to the penalties for DWI chemical test refusal. For example, you will not be penalized if you refuse a chemical test because:
- You are under the age of 21.
- You are a commercial driver.
- You are injured in an accident.
- You are in a medical emergency.
If you are arrested for a DWI and refuse a chemical test, it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and can represent you at the DMV hearing to challenge the suspension of your driver’s license.
Building a Robust Defense Strategy
Evaluating the Traffic Stop: The foundation of any DWI Chemical Test Refusal defense begins with a thorough examination of the traffic stop. Was there probable cause to initiate the stop? Were the proper procedures followed by law enforcement? Any violations of the defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights can significantly impact the case’s validity.
Challenging Sobriety Tests: DWI Chemical Test Refusal cases often involve field sobriety tests, which can be subjective and prone to human error. Our experienced attorneys meticulously scrutinize the administration of these tests to identify any inconsistencies or improper procedures that could undermine their reliability.
Questioning Chemical Tests: Chemical tests, such as breathalyzers, urine or blood tests, are crucial pieces of evidence in DWI Chemical Test Refusal cases. However, these tests are not infallible. Our legal team will investigate whether the testing equipment was properly calibrated, maintained, and operated by certified personnel. If there are discrepancies, the validity of the test results can be called into question.
Medical Conditions and Prescription Medications: Some medical conditions and prescription medications can lead to impaired driving without the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs. Our defense strategy explores the possibility of a medical condition or medication affecting the defendant’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Constructing Alternative Explanations: We work closely with our clients to gather detailed accounts of the events leading up to their DWI Chemical Test Refusal charge. By understanding the context and circumstances, we can build alternative explanations for their behavior that may not necessarily point to impairment.
Our legal team is well-versed in the nuanced laws of New York State, including its DWI Chemical Test Refusal statutes and sentencing guidelines. Depending on the specifics of the case, we can pursue various legal avenues:
Negotiating Reductions: Through skillful negotiation, we aim to secure reductions in charges or penalties, such as obtaining a plea deal to a lesser offense or pursuing enrollment in a substance abuse education program.
Challenging Evidence in Court: If necessary, we are prepared to take the case to trial. Our experienced litigators will present a strong defense, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge evidence in court to achieve the best possible outcome.
Protecting Driving Privileges: DWI Chemical Test Refusal convictions can result in the suspension or revocation of driving privileges. We will advocate for our clients to retain their driving rights whenever possible.
Facing a DWI Chemical Test Refusal charge in New York State can be a daunting experience, but the DWI Team is dedicated to providing unwavering support and exceptional legal representation. Our extensive knowledge of the legal landscape, combined with our commitment to protecting clients’ rights, empowers us to construct robust defense strategies tailored to each unique case. From dissecting the traffic stop to challenging sobriety tests and negotiating favorable outcomes, we stand as the shield against DWI Chemical Test Refusal charges, advocating for the best interests of our clients at every turn.